Archive for Wednesday, July 21, 2010

WHO may declare end to pandemic

July 21, 2010

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— Public health experts are likely to tell the world this month it can breathe easier: The swine flu pandemic is ending.

The World Health Organization’s emergency committee may convene next week to review infection data from Argentina to New Zealand and recommend that the agency declare the century’s first flu pandemic to be over, said two people familiar with the matter. They declined to be identified because the deliberations are confidential.

WHO Director-General Margaret Chan has to decide whether the virus warrants extra vigilance as it circles the globe a second time with no sign it’s becoming deadlier or developing resistance to Roche Holding’s Tamiflu drug. More than $14 billion was spent on vaccines and medicines to fight the germ, which shared features of the Spanish flu of 1918 while causing little more than a fever and a cough in a majority of patients.

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